With 2020 already set to leave a fraught legacy, what’s to become of the American family?
As it turns out, the situation may not be so dire.
This year’s American Family Survey sheds some light onto how exactly the nation’s families are being affected by a global pandemic, a heightened awareness of racial tensions and a contentious election year — and the findings revealed many positives.
The last few weeks of the year are often filled with self-reflection and pondering what the new year may bring. Though there may be many aspects of 2020 that are happily left in the dust, all would do well to consider these responses when striving to make improvements for the future.
Parents overwhelmingly don’t want their children to pursue a career in politics.
The survey found that 90% of American parents would rather their child not become a politician — a marked difference from the parents of generations past. AFS report co-author Jeremy Pope says the huge percentage change reflects how honorable parents feel politics is — that is to say, not very.
That said, more racial minorities believe their children could one day be president than white parents do.
Though seemingly split on just about every other issue, Americans were pretty undivided when it came to their opinion of pandemic relief checks.
A nearly equal 72% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats found the checks to their families helpful, while an even more equal 66% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats approved of the federal government helping out small businesses.
Husbands and wives are split on their opinions regarding how evenly they divide household chores.
Men tend to think they do about 50% of the work, while women say their husbands really do only about 35% of the chores. Additionally, more men than women struggle to balance work and family life, as well as feel like they’re failing as parents.
Good news, though: 56% of Americans feel their appreciation for their spouse has grown during the pandemic.
Families are growing stronger, with respondents reporting less tension and saying their commitment to their spouse or partner has deepened. That said, how kids fare during the pandemic will depend on how much parents are able to invest time and resources into them.
Race is also becoming more prevalent in family dynamics.
The AFS showed that 76% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats have discussed Black Lives Matter or police brutality with their family.
The pandemic actually hasn’t had much of an effect on loneliness — it’s more about your life situation.
Those experiencing difficulty in their relationship (like separation from a spouse) or those not in a relationship reported higher levels of loneliness than those in a stable relationship.
A huge, partisan divide exists among Americans over whether they agree with the statement, “Black families face obstacles that white families don’t.”
Interestingly, nonwhite Democrats were less likely to agree with the above statement than white Democrats, whereas nonwhite Republicans were more likely to agree with it than white Republicans.
And finally, more Americans are concerned about the odds of success for their sons than they are for their daughters — but they may not be willing to admit it.
When asked generally about their children becoming successful adults, parents were concerned about all their children equally. But when asked separately about their sons and daughters, more expressed worries about their sons than their daughters.
Through ups and down, the family remains the heart and soul of America. Getting a better idea of what’s happening in the family gives us a picture of what’s happening in the country.
These insights should provide Americans with the groundwork to make an impact in the most important space: the home.
Certainly, there’s always room for improvement and change. But based on this year’s findings, things could be a lot worse.
A strong future starts and ends with a strong family.